Jackson Pro-Series/X-Series Soloist: Just How Bad Can They Be?

JimF

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I keep seeing these popping up used near me for not a lot of cash. I know they're supposed to be pretty sh*tty, but is this in terms of hardware, or as an instrument itself?
If I got one and swapped the bridge, pickups & tuners, would it be a case of polishing a turd?
I did a similar thing on a random 90's Jackson neck that I had an ebony board put on and refretted, then got a cheap Jackson JS body. In the end it didn't feel great - couldn't put my finger on why. Would I end up with a similar scenario?
 

D-Nasty

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I bought an Orange Crackle that was made in China a few years ago. It's been a great guitar. The stock pickups & tuners were crap, but the bridge is pretty decent. It's a Floyd Rose Special. I also had to replace the toggle switch because it felt really sloppy. The guitar stays in tune very well & it plays great after I set it up. Definitely worth the money.

I liked it so much that I ordered a black one that was made in Indonesia from Musician's Friend. It arrived with one of the bridge post holes drilled too big from the factory & I had to send it back. If I remember correctly it didn't weigh nearly as much as my Chinese model & the paint job & all the hardware was horrendous.
 

Emperoff

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I've heard the chinese ones are better than the indos, indeed. I've yet to hear anything good about the indo Jacksons.

The only Jackson Pros worth a damn (besides the Japanese ones, obviously) are the mexican Dinkys, that were reportedly pretty good.
 

JimF

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Great info both, thanks! I've heard the Chinese Jacksons are the ones to go for as well.
Also good to get confirmation the Indo ones aren't worth considering!
 

Emperoff

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Forgot to say, if you have trouble telling the Pro Mexican Dinkys apart, is actually quite easy. They had 3-bolt neck joints. People were quite shaky about that when they were released but I've never heard a complaint since.

Example:
 

JimF

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I did wonder if that was a deciding factor! I'd never seen that neck joint on any other Jackson!
 

Emperoff

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I did wonder if that was a deciding factor! I'd never seen that neck joint on any other Jackson!

That's probably because there are no other Mexican Jacksons. Maybe it wasn't very well received even though it's likely as solid as the regular joint. Those bolts look hefty...
 

TornAnus

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I've heard the chinese ones are better than the indos, indeed. I've yet to hear anything good about the indo Jacksons.

The only Jackson Pros worth a damn (besides the Japanese ones, obviously) are the mexican Dinkys, that were reportedly pretty good.
My 2018 indo king v pro is great. love it.
 

jl-austin

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Pro Series Dinky - Mexico (They might make a few in Korea now, not sure)
X-series Dinky - Indonesia
Pro Series Soloist - Indonesia (China for special finish models)
X-series Soloist - Indonesia (China for special finish models)

I have 4 MII Jacksons. They are all nice playing guitars. Very nice guitars for the money. Change out the pickups, and they are certainly good enough to gig with.
I have a MIC Jackson Dinky (older JS series maybe, which was given to me), it plays fine also.
I have a MIM Charvel, and it plays like butter.

My advice is buy from a reputable dealer, and they won't let guitars with huge problems get out the door.
 

eaeolian

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I've heard the chinese ones are better than the indos, indeed. I've yet to hear anything good about the indo Jacksons.

The only Jackson Pros worth a damn (besides the Japanese ones, obviously) are the mexican Dinkys, that were reportedly pretty good.
I've played good Indos and bad Indos. I've played some crap Chinese ones, but overall they're usually better, although the pots/switches/tuners are garbage.
The Mexi Pros (and the Charvels) are a SERIOUS step up, as are the Korean Pros.
 

Emperoff

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I've played good Indos and bad Indos. I've played some crap Chinese ones, but overall they're usually better, although the pots/switches/tuners are garbage.
The Mexi Pros (and the Charvels) are a SERIOUS step up, as are the Korean Pros.

Are there any Korean pros besides the signatures? I thought only the WIldcard series were MIK.
 

eaeolian

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Are there any Korean pros besides the signatures? I thought only the WIldcard series were MIK.
I think it's only the Sigs and the WC. Of course, the Concept series is made there, too.
 

kerryymm

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I've got an Indo SL3X and it's my favourite guitar. I bought it for £399 a couple of years ago, it's one of the ones with Duncan Designed pickups (the newers ones have Jackson pickups). I swapped out the bridge pickup for an Oil City Djenerator, but the Duncan Designed hot rails in the neck and middle positions sound fantastic, I have no need to swap them out. Only other thing I've done to it is fit a push-in trem arm, but I do that on all Floyds anyway.
It's got a great neck, the top fret access is unbelievable, and I've had no problems with it. Tuning stability is rock solid, I'd gig with it tomorrow with no hesitation.

P1070499.jpeg

P1070501.jpeg
 

Der JD

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I recently got a 2022 Pro King V, made in Indo. The main issues I had with it were the fretwork and setup. I don't expect a perfect setup but this was pretty bad. I bought an Epiphone SG for less than $400 a few months ago that had a better setup from the factory. Action was stupid high and the floyd needed tons of adjustment.

The fret ends looked to have almost no work done to them. Sharp and sticking off the board. A couple of high frets too, but overall the leveling wasn't too bad.

Luckily, I can fix these issues myself. It sounds and looks great and it's an iconic guitar for me.
 

Blackshirt

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I keep seeing these popping up used near me for not a lot of cash. I know they're supposed to be pretty sh*tty, but is this in terms of hardware, or as an instrument itself?
If I got one and swapped the bridge, pickups & tuners, would it be a case of polishing a turd?
I did a similar thing on a random 90's Jackson neck that I had an ebony board put on and refretted, then got a cheap Jackson JS body. In the end it didn't feel great - couldn't put my finger on why. Would I end up with a similar scenario?
I just bought a 2021 Jackson X Series Dinky DK2X HT, Laurel Fingerboard, Gloss Black made in Indonesia, here in the UK in 2022 for £464.99. So far I have been impressed with the build quality and playability. I bought it from a reputable guitar dealer and they said they inspected the guitar before I purchased it.

The stock active pickups were ok. I would say they had less bass than an EMG 81 85 set and were slightly muddier but only really noticeable because I have several guitars fitted with EMG pickups as a comparison.

The tuners seem adequate although I may swap them for locking tuners. The pickup selector works fine and the volume and tone controls are responsive.

It is light weighing 6.07 lbs and there is no fret sprout on the fingerboard.

I believe the guitar is giggable as stock although as others have said the tuners could be improved with a replacement set of locking tuners.

Overall, I am very pleased with the guitar and would recommend it.
 

keithhagel

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Of course, as usual it all depends on the specific guitar itself, you're gonna find some gems and you're gonna find some not so great ones. It's the way it is. However, I've plalyed a number of the X series Jacksons having worked at a Guitar Center, and I've been pleasantly surprised by a lot of them. The hardware is definitely where they cheap out, but a lot of times the build quality itself is pretty solid. They make for some great project guitars, especially if you want to have something cheaper for gigging where you don't want your expensive guitars to go.

Also, I'll say I bought one of the Dave Ellefson 30th Annniversary 5 string basses? It says it's an X series, made in Indonesia, and it's quite possibly my favorite bass. It holds it's own with my Fender American Standard. It is a signature model and considerably more expensive, so I understand that probably leans towards a better quality, but still. The thing rips.
 

Blackshirt

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I just bought a 2021 Jackson X Series Dinky DK2X HT, Laurel Fingerboard, Gloss Black made in Indonesia, here in the UK in 2022 for £464.99. So far I have been impressed with the build quality and playability. I bought it from a reputable guitar dealer and they said they inspected the guitar before I purchased it.

The stock active pickups were ok. I would say they had less bass than an EMG 81 85 set and were slightly muddier but only really noticeable because I have several guitars fitted with EMG pickups as a comparison.

The tuners seem adequate although I may swap them for locking tuners. The pickup selector works fine and the volume and tone controls are responsive.

It is light weighing 6.07 lbs and there is no fret sprout on the fingerboard.

I believe the guitar is giggable as stock although as others have said the tuners could be improved with a replacement set of locking tuners.

Overall, I am very pleased with the guitar and would recommend it.
Thanks for the replies everyone, much appreciated.

A quick update since my last post as I have now modified the guitar.

The mods include:
EMG 81 Red, Bridge (including solderless wiring loom, volume pot and jack which replaced original Jackson parts)
EMG Toggle Killswitch
Graph Tech String saver classics strat/tele 2 1/16 saddles
Gotoh SG381 Traditional Magnum Locking Tuners 6 in line left haded black/07
Aluminium guitar pot knob control volume tone for 1/4” 6mm shaft (about the same size as a Gibson speed knob)
Tie Fighter wall art vinyl sticker

The mods were straightforward to install and required no drilling or reaming of the existing holes. The kill switch shaft was narrower than the hole where the original tone pot was but I managed to tighten it down and it doesn’t move about in the hole but there is a slight gap.

Overall, I feel that the mods have improved the guitar and it is even lighter in weight now due to removing the neck pickup. In fairness I only upgraded the parts as I plan to gig the guitar. Would the guitar have been good enough to gig stock, probably yes.

Let me know what you think.

Here are the before and after photos.
 

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